Mumbai · Varanasi · DELHI · AGRA· JAIPUR · JODHPUR ·UDAIPUR

SEPTEMBER 15-27, 2017 ITINERARY

13 DAYS FROM $8999

Overload your senses – Test your limits – Restructure your basic assumptions. This tour will touch your soul. Our 12-day India adventure of discovery takes you on a journey of more than just a destination, but perhaps even of yourself. Long after you leave you will be gently haunted by memories of a place, a person, even a sound, or the smells of tea, jasmine blossoms, and insense. This is not your average tour of India: this is Zoom India!

Day One ~ Arrive in Mumbai

Arrive at Mumbai’s International Airport this evening. You will be met at the airport by a Zoom Vacations representative who will give you a warm welcome with fresh flower garlands, and transfer to our landmark hotel by air-conditioned vehicle. Your room is availabe for  immediate checkin.

Evening: Welcome Dinner and Cocktails at a surprise location

Accommodations: the luxurious TAJ PALACE & TOWER hotel (Luxury Palace Rooms) centrally located and overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner

 

Day Two ~ Mumbai
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning: The "City of Gold," Mumbai (Bombay), is surrounded on three sides by the Arabian Sea. We explore this legendary city and visit the Gateway of India, the entrance to the port of Mumbai and then cruise towards Elephanta Island. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this island was originally known as Gharapurti and was renamed as Elephanta after the Portuguese found a carved elephant there. The main attraction of the island is the four rock cut cave temples dating back to 5th-8th century AD. The most renowned is the cave sculpture of 'Trimurthi', a three headed figure almost 20 feet in height, of Lord Shiva as a creator, preserver and destroyer. The historical and spiritual vitality of this place is the pefect experience to get our feet wet in what we will experience along this trip.

Late Morning: Time permitting, we may also visit Dhobi Ghat, the city’s open-air municipal laundry where thousands wash clothes brought daily from around the city. Also see the memorial at Mani Bhawan, once the residence of Mahatma Gandhi.

Afternoon: Afternoon is free to either relax in the hotel or cover some more attractions of the city including the Prince Wales Museum, India's finest museum, housing treasures, artifacts, paintings and sculpture from the many periods covering India's history.

Evening at leisure.

Accommodations: The luxurious TAJ PALACE & TOWER hotel (Luxury Palace Rooms)
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

Click here read this day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Three ~ Fly from Mumbai to Varanasi
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning: Morning flight takes us to the oldest living city in the world, Varanasi – also said to be the India’s most sacred city situated on the western bank of the holy river Ganga. Varanasi cannot easily be described, only experienced.

Evening: Our evening rickshaw (Tricycle with driver) ride passing through the busy streets and bazaars of Varanasi takes us to the holy river Ganges where we cruise to witness the ceremonies amidst hundreds of lighted candles and flower offerings. Evening introduction to Astrology by expert astrologer who will also read our palms, if we so desire. This evening you will see things you have never seen before.

Accommodations: THE TAJ GANGES hotel
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

Click here read this day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb



Day Four ~ Fly from Varanasi to Delhi
Quick Breakfast in hotel

Morning: We rise before dawn and step gingerly onto a rustic boat as the wizened boatman coasts off. We wait, still, for the daily miracle to unfold. Just then, as if having waited for the audience to settle reverently in their assigned places, the Sun God appears triumphantly over the horizon. The sound of conches and temple bells rent the delicate pink fabric of dawn. The formerly hushed murmuring of ancient Sanskrit Shlokas, now rises, in one voice, to a crescendo of unparalleled piety and joy. We tour Sarnath, an important pilgrimage center for Buddhists. This is where the Buddha preached his first sermon after achieving enlightenment. Sarnath's temples and Archaeological Museum are full of Buddhist art treasures.

Afternoon: Afternoon flight to Delhi.

On the way to the hotel, we will visit Humayun’s Tomb, which is the first great example of Mughal architecture in India, developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty.  The squat building of white marble and red sandstone, with a dome and high arched entrances, surrounded by formal gardens, is generally regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra. Huyamun’s wife is buried in the red-and-white sandstone, black-and yellow marble tomb.  Visiting Humayun’s Tomb will definitely aid in the appreciation of the Taj Mahal.

Evening at leisure for independent activities and to enjoy hotel facilities. 

Accommodations: The Taj Palace New Delhi
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

Click here read this day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Five ~ New Delhi
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning: Today’s Delhi exploration includes the 11th century Qutab Minar Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of Delhi in 1206. It is a red sandstone tower, standing tall at a height of 72.5 meters and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Qur'an. National Museum, having the collection of 5000 year old relics of the Indus valley civilization, varied exotic paintings, old manuscripts and mural paintings from Buddhist shrines in Central Asia. Lunch at a stylish restaurant set in a historic mansion.

Afternoon: Other attractions include The India Gate, a memorial raised in honor of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war. We will drive past the grand government buildings, the President’s House and Parliament House all dating back to the time of British Raj. The grand Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind.

Accommodations: The Taj Palace New Delhi
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Lunch

Click here read this day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Six ~ Delhi to Agra by Train
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning: Our journey to the city of Taj, Agra takes us through the beautiful countryside. Upon arrival, visit the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and surely the most extravagant expression of love ever created.

Afternoon: Afternoon tour of imposing Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques.

Evening: This evening, we recommend you enjoy dinner at the hotel, at your leisure.

Accommodations: The luxurious Oberoi Amarvillas, Agra.
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

Click here read this day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Seven ~ Agra to Jaipur via air-conditioned vehicle

Sunrise: If you are like most Zoom travelers, you will not be able to get enough of the Taj Mahal, and nothing compares to seeing it at sunrise. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this memorial to Shah Jahan's beloved wife. It's a wealth of white marble and semi-precious stones, which sparkle to new life with the rising sun.

Buffet Breakfast at the hotel

Late Morning: Passing through the images of rural India, a leisurely drive takes us to the royal city of Jaipur, also known as ‘The Pink City' due to the predominant color of its buildings. Jaipur is the throbbing, vibrant capital city of the colorful state of Rajasthan where the regal ambience of yesteryear is still felt throughout the city's numerous carved arches and once-bejewelled fortress walls.
Enroute visit to Keoladeo Ghana bird sanctuary,  a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to an astonishing range of flora and fauna. We will see an incredible variety of birds during the rickshaw (tricycle) ride into the bird Park.

Enroute we visit Fatehpur Sikri, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has been described as “the world’s most perfectly preserved ghost town”. Built by Akbar in the late 16th century, it was abandoned after only 14 years, and the elegant buildings of this superb walled city remain intact to this day.

Afternoon: Have a unique experience of a Walking Tour in a Village, catch a peek at the rustic ways of life in the villages of India. Explore a lifestyle that has been left largely unblemished by the complexities of modern civilization. See the sights of rural India where life still continues at the pace with which it has done for thousands of years. …The ancient Persian wheel drawing water from river channels and farmers hard at work with bullock drawn hoes… in the backdrop of the golden fields of mustard… are images that are now largely extinct from all the other parts of the world.

Accommodations: The Incomparable Rambagh Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Lunch

Click here read our day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Eight ~ Jaipur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning: Day starts with a visit to the dramatic hilltop fortress at Amber – ascend the imposing fort on a decorated painted elephant. We wander among glittering inlays and the Hall of Mirrors. On the way back we stop to view the elegant Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. This elaborate building, now little more than a façade, is encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could sneak views of the outside world.

Lunch is served al fresco in the beautiful country setting of the Aravali Forest.

Afternoon: Our afternoon visit includes the Maharajah’s City Palace, now partly a museum displaying a unique fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, and houses a rare collection of paintings, Rajput armoury and costumes. Explore the city on our own and indulge in shopping for gemstones, silver jewellery, paintings, blue pottery and hand printed textiles for which Jaipur is renowned.

Accommodations: The Incomparable Rambagh Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Lunch

Click here read our day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb
 


Day Nine ~ Drive from Jaipur to Jodhpur in air conditioned vehicle
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Jodhpur, also called the ‘Blue City’ was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan, the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur. It is still a marvelously medieval city. While the graceful palaces, forts and temples bring alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city.

Arrive at Jodhpur and check-in at UMAID BHAWAN PALACE hotel.

Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest residences in the world, set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens.

Designed by renowned Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, the palace is a blend of eastern and western architectural influences. Its majestic 105-foot high cupola is influenced by the Renaissance, while the towers draw inspiration from Rajput tradition. The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin.
Rest of the day will be at leisure to enjoy the Palace, Spa activities etc.

In the evening enjoy a heritage walk of the Palace and its museum.

Accommodations: Umaid Bhawan Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Day Ten ~ Jodhpur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

This morning enjoy an in-depth tour of Jodhpur city. Visit the magnificent Mehrangarh fort which dominates the town ringed with its massive protective walls. There are seven gates that lead into the fort. Inside the fort is a series of courtyards and palaces. Continue your tour to Jaswant Thada, located a short distance from the fort, just off the fort road, which is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

Afternoon drive to Osian covering a distance of 65kms in approximately 1½ hours.

Osian was an ancient town in the Thar Desert. It was a great trading center between the 8th and 12th centuries when it was dominated by the Jains. Osian has a wealth of lavish and exquisitely sculptured temples, most of which have withstood the ravages of time. Osian is a great location for camel safaris, sunset dune cocktails, photography, etc. 

Mount camels and head off for a short ride into the dunes and surrounding villages. Later enjoy sundowners at the dunes. After sunset return to the camel camp and enjoy the evening with folk entertainment followed by BBQ dinner.

After dinner drive back to Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Accommodations: Umaid Bhawan Palace
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day Eleven ~ Drive from Jodhpur to Udaipur in air-conditioned vehicle
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Udaipur combines real beauty with a picturesque association of a great and glorious past. It stands in a valley, amidst green hills on the banks of the wide, steel blue Lake Pichola. On little islands in the lake, from the water's edge, raise marble palaces of pure white that glisten like fairy castles. Crowning the ridge in which the city clusters, along the shore of the lake is the palace of the Maharana. Possibly no city in Rajasthan is quite as romantic as Udaipur and is replete with fantastic hill top fortresses, exotic fairy tale palaces and gripping legends of medieval chivalry and heroism. Udaipur rivals any of the world's famous creations of the Mughals with the Rajput love of the whimsical and it's superbly crafted elegance.

En-route visit Ranakpur temples after lunch at a local restaurant.

Ranakpur boasts some of the most exquisite Jain temples in the country famous for their intricate friezes and sculptures. Nestled on the banks of the river Maghai and sequestered by mountains, Ranakpur's beauty is accentuated by its seclusion. Erected on a raised platform, it is surrounded by 66 subsidiary shrines. It has 1444 beautifully carved pillars, of which no two are alike.

Arrive at Udaipur and check-in at Oberoi Udaivillas.

The Oberoi Udaivilas affords spectacular views across the verdant gardens and sparkling Lake Pichola. The hotel's intricate layout of interconnecting domes and corridors reflects the layout of Udaipur itself - whose seven lakes are linked by canals. These domes and walkways are flooded with sunlight, caressed by balmy breezes and offer magnificent views of the lake and gardens.

Rest of the evening at leisure.

Accommodations: The Oberoi Udaivillas, consistently rated the best hotel in the world
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

Click here read our day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Twelve ~ Udaipur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning: Let the glorious sunrise dazzle us at breakfast. Wander through the opulent City Palace grounds and the museum, which are the testament to the valour and chivalry of the Mewar rulers. Private tour of Crystal Gallery - probably the largest single private collection of crystal anywhere in the world. Visit Saheliyon ki Bari (the gardens the maids-of-honor), the Jagdish temple on the shores of Lake Pichola.

Today's lunch setting is in a luxuriously restored 18th century fort palace nestled in the Aravali Hills.

Drive to Eklingji and Nagda Temple. Eklingji is believed to be the ruling deity of the once princely state of Mewar. The beautiful sculpted temple complex includes 108 religious structures dating back to the 15th century. We continue to the 11th century ruins of Magda.

This evening enjoy a farewell cocktail reception and dinner in a regal setting.

Accommodations: The Oberoi Udaivillas, consistently rated the best hotel in the world
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, and Farewell Dinner

Click here read our day's journal account from a prior Zoom Vacations tour of India, written by Zoom Co-Founder, Bryan Herb

 

Day Thirteen ~ Depart for home or onward to our Bhutan extension
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning at leisure. Departure for those going onto the Bhutan extension.

Afternoon: Flight to Delhi. Transfer to the airport and Board your homebound flight or connect to your onward destination. Most international flights depart between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.

Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Air: International and domestic airfare not included.  However, Zoom Vacations will arrange all necessary internal flights.

Passports: Your valid passport should have at least two blank visa pages and should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from the country you are visiting. 
Note: Passport pages titled "Endorsement Pages" are not visa pages.

Visas: Please note that travelers to India need to have a Indian Visa in advance of your trip in order to enter India. For more information, go to http://www.in.ckgs.us

While Zoom Vacations will assist when possible, please note that passport, visa, and vaccination requirements vary from country to country and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. If you are a US resident, you may click here for more information on passport, visa, and vaccination requirements for various countries.

*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

Please read Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

For more information on entry and exit requirements, see here.